Eagles Players with Most to Prove Ahead of 2021 Season

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMay 24, 2021

Eagles Players with Most to Prove Ahead of 2021 Season

0 of 3

    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot to prove in 2021. They had a down season in 2020, which resulted in a 4-11-1 record and a last-place finish in the NFC East. 

    However, some players on Philadelphia's roster will have more to prove than others. That includes several notable players who will be looking to have bounce-back years, as well as others who will be in competitive roster battles leading up to the season.

    The Eagles' level of success in 2021 could depend on how some of these players fare. There's the potential for them to have a turnaround season, but they'll need key players to perform well in order to do so.

    Here's a look at three Philadelphia players who have the most to prove heading into the 2021 season.

Jalen Hurts, QB

1 of 3

    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Many eyes will be on Hurts this season as the 22-year-old quarterback will get his first opportunity to be a Week 1 starter in the NFL. Can he carry over the success he had late in 2020? Or will there be some growing pains as he continues to adjust to the professional level?

    Hurts will be looking to prove the Eagles made the right decision in trading Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts and committing to him as the new franchise quarterback. After getting drafted in the second round last year, Hurts passed for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for 354 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.

    New Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni has yet to announce Hurts as the team's starting quarterback. It's unlikely that veteran Joe Flacco or undrafted rookie Jamie Newman have a shot at the job, but it appears the Eagles' new staff may want to see Hurts go out and prove he should be the starter during training camp and the preseason. But don't expect a true battle.

    "Everybody pretty much knows he's the guy," running back Miles Sanders said, per Matt Howe of 247Sports.com. "... Everybody knows and is satisfied with that, and I just like how he's just trying to get everybody involved. He's the quarterback for a reason."

    But if Hurts doesn't play well in 2021, maybe that will make Philadelphia's quarterback picture a bit less clear. That's why it's important for Hurts to impress and perform to expectations this season.

Jalen Reagor, WR

2 of 3

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Reagor was the Eagles' first-round draft pick in 2020 and expectations were high as a result.

    However, in 11 games during his rookie season, Reagor had 31 receptions for 396 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles receiving corps dealt with numerous injuries, so there weren't a lot of other reliable targets for Philadelphia's quarterbacks to throw to.

    This year, the Eagles again used their first-round pick on a receiver (DeVonta Smith), and they have some young playmakers who could potentially take steps forward. That includes Reagor, who will be looking to prove he was worth the first-round pick Philadelphia used to acquire him. Smith and Reagor may even become a strong receiving duo.

    "We can complement each other, just help each other out with things in our game," Smith said, per Glenn Erby of Eagles Wire. "So there may be something I’m doing that he's not doing or something that he's doing that I'm not doing. And we can just help each other out in every way."

    So while Reagor's rookie season may not have lived up to expectations, his second year has the potential to be much better. If so, he could provide a big boost to Philadelphia's offense.

Alex Singleton, LB

3 of 3

    Rich Schultz/Associated Press

    When the Eagles needed somebody to fill a void at linebacker last season, Singleton came through. Despite having only 10 games of NFL experience entering 2020 (all of which came on special teams in 2019), Singleton got onto the field on defense as Philadelphia lost players to injury.

    Once Singleton received that opportunity, he impressed, finishing the season with a team-high 120 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one touchdown in 16 games (including 11 starts). It could earn him a big role again in 2021, even though the Eagles' linebacker corps won't be as depleted.

    Philadelphia signed Eric Wilson in free agency and selected JaCoby Stevens (sixth round) and Patrick Johnson (seventh round) in the draft. So there will likely be some competition for playing time among linebackers heading into the 2021 season.

    Singleton will be looking to show that 2020 wasn't a fluke or a product of circumstance. The 27-year-old proved himself last season, and perhaps he'll do so again this year.